At a March 5 meeting, the Oregon AFL-CIO Executive Board gave unanimous approval to a resolution in favor of “common sense immigration reform,” at the request of the national AFL-CIO. The state labor federation is made up of affiliated unions with a combined membership of 104,000, not counting the Working America community affiliate for workers who don’t have a union in their workplace.
The immigration resolution reflects principles articulated by the national AFL-CIO and Change to Win federation unions. Those principles include a path to citizenship; an independent commission to assess labor market shortages; an effective work authorization mechanism to hold employers accountable; improvement, not expansion, of temporary work programs; and rational operational control of the border.
In a recent poll commissioned by the national AFL-CIO, 62 percent of union members said they favored a comprehensive immigration reform approach that emphasizes workers rights and includes a roadmap to citizenship for immigrants currently living and working in the United States. Another 23 percent said they were opposed and 16 percent not sure. Support was highest in manufacturing unions (67 percent) and lowest in building trades unions (51 percent). Respondents were read a description of this proposal, and asked if they agree: “The federal government would establish a roadmap to citizenship for immigrants currently living and working in the U.S. Employers who continue to violate the law and hire unauthorized workers would be punished and face strict fines and penalties. In the future, employers would be able to bring in foreign workers only when the economy is strong enough so that there are real shortages of workers, and those workers would have the same rights as all other workers.”